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EXCLUSIVE: Murder probe launched after man left fighting for life following savage attack dies in ho

Tragic: Mark Woodard died at Colchester Hospital

DETECTIVES have opened a murder inquiry after a man who was left in a coma following a savage assault tragically died.

Medics switched off a life-support system, which was keeping Mark Woodard alive following a serious assault late on Saturday, after informing his relatives there was nothing more that could be done to save him due to massive head injuries.

An inquest, which was opened yesterday at Chelmsford Coroners Court, heard the 59-year-old was admitted to Colchester Hospital after being badly beaten late on Saturday.

Coroners Officer Debbie Frost said: "A CT scan showed that sadly his brain stem had died and he was only being kept alive through life support." ​​

His condition deteriorated on Sunday before the equipment was turned off and he was confirmed dead.

A post mortem carried out by Dr Benjamin Swift, a consultant forensic pathologist, gave a provisional cause of death as "head injuries pending further investigation".

Investigation: Essex Police HQ

Coroner Ealanor McGann adjourned the case until the new year and pending the outcome of the police investigation.

She said: "The date will not be effective unless any criminal proceedings have ended. The body is not to be released."

Mr Woodard, from Colchester Road, Wix, Manningtree, had worked as a mobile car mechanic, trading under the name of On the Road on Facebook. ​​

An Essex Police spokeswoman said: "Police were contacted at 11pm on Saturday, November 14, with reports a man had been admitted to hospital with serious injuries following an assault at an address in Cliff Road, Dovercourt, near Harwich.

"The 49-year-old man from Colchester suffered head injuries and died in hospital in the evening of Sunday, November 15.

"His death is being treated as suspicious."

Two men aged 19 and 47 from Dovercourt were arrested in connection with the police investigation and have been bailed until the new year, pending further enquiries.

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